Have you ever been so bored, so frustrated with something, that you’re ready to quit? So lost that you wondered how you even got there? You feel stuck, tired, and downright crabby. You know you can’t quit because this is meant to be, dammit! But somehow, one tiny thing changes, and a whole world of possibility opens up, one that enchants and excites you.
This is her story.
There was a four year old girl whose grandmother taught her how to sew. For hours, they would sit and feed paper through a sewing machine with no thread, learning how to “sew” straight lines, turn corners, and make curves. The holes the needle left made trails where stitches would be, and were held up for Nana and Mommy to see like any prized art project.
Not long after that, the little girl learned how to sew real fabric with real thread, and made clothes and costumes for herself and her dolls. She would sit in the garden and embroider little squares of fabric, not really understanding what she was doing or how to make what she wanted, but doing it anyway.
She knew she loved fabric and thread. Their colors and textures promised to take her to a secret world full of magic. She could see beautiful clothes coming to life from a plain piece of fabric, only she couldn’t make it happen.
Soon, she was frustrated. Sewing and embroidery were too slow. They required too much precision for a little girl who wanted to run and play with wild abandon. She still played with fiber almost endlessly, but stopped as many projects as she started.
Annoyed by her inability to follow through on a single project, the little girl’s mother stopped letting her cut up those precious silks that so enchanted her. The little girl thought maybe she just wasn’t good enough, that she couldn’t do it. Those beautiful visions kept calling to her, but now they just made her sad. There was no way she could make them real.
And then, she discovered knitting.
She had written it off years ago, confused by grandmother’s half-remembered instructions and an awful cast-on row. But now, she found, something clicked (and it wasn't just the sound of the knitting needles).
Knitting was portable. It was easy. It was more forgiving of small mistakes and deviations from the pattern. It allowed creativity and ingenuity, even without lots of technical skill.
The door to the magic world had opened, the one she had been longing for all along.
As she entered the magical land of knitting, the girl knit scarf after scarf after scarf. Sometimes she would go wild and knit a hat. But scarves were where it was at.
She grew braver, and ventured into the world of lace shawls, then socks, then sweaters. Nothing, it seemed, was off limits to her.
The little girl grew up, as little girls do, and soon she was on her own. But she wasn’t alone, because she had her knitting to keep her company.
One day, she was wandering around an art fair and saw a woman sitting at a spinning wheel, spinning yarn for socks. The girl had tried spinning on a spindle before, but just like sewing and embroidery, it just failed to really catch her interest.
But this was different. This was fast.
That woman at the wheel looked like she was having fun, tapping her feet, drafting her wool, chatting away with curious shoppers.
Too shy to ask for a lesson on the spinning wheel, she bought a bag of fiber and retreated back to her home to try the drop spindle once more. It was still too slow, too frustrating. She went back to the world of knitting, but a seed had been planted in that world, one that promised even more magic than what she already had.
Until one day, many years later, the girl went to an honest-to-goodness fiber fair. What joy! What magic! Here were all these wonderful, happy people, and they were all spinning yarn!
As she made her way around the fair, she saw a lonely little spinning wheel, with a price tag and the words, “Adopt Me.” That was all she needed. She sat with its former owner, and learned to spin.
The first skeins of yarn she made were nothing short of awful, but it was so much fun! Here was what she had been looking for all along.
Her magical world of knitting transformed into a world full of possibility.
No longer was it a world of knitting. It was a world made up of all kinds of fiber. Woolen mountains of roving, ready to be spun into rivers of yarn, and made into clothing for the world’s inhabitants. Silken grass, beckoning her to lie down and take a nap in it. Not just knitting, but weaving, too, and even crochet.
But this world was too magical for any human girl to bear, so she transformed into the Fiber Sprite, a fairy whose magic fingers created all kinds of fabric. There she stayed, among the fibers, working her magic in that mystical world.
This is her story.
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